As a video games ecosystem catalyst, SpielFabrique has developed an international and cross-border expertise of the video game industry. Co-Founder Pr. Odile Limpach talks about the reason why SpielFabrique was founded, what different programs they offer and the importance of pan-European co-production.
As former Managing Director of Blue Byte and Ubisoft GmbH you have extensive knowledge of the games industry. Why did you found SpielFabrique and how did your experience help to start it?
The birth of SpielFabrique was based on following motivations
- independent video game developers in Europe are extremely talented but lack business and financing knowledge and professionalization skills. We had the contact to the studios and to the business/finance experts, we positioned ourselves as the mediators by developing a first acceleration program. This year we will be welcoming 35 studios from all over Europe to our acceleration track.
- Cross country corporations are the backbone of Europe and we wanted to support European growth by bringing video game developers from France and Germany together and help them develop projects. By now 12 countries are participating to our European co-production market.
Having experiences in the production and the commercialization of games helped me tremendously to build the bridge between the world of experts and the studios and to design a program adapted to the needs of the developers.
SpielFabrique is a video games ecosystem catalyst. What does this mean and why are institutions like yours important?
Founded in 2016, SpielFabrique has developed international and cross-border expertise in the video game industry. From mentoring indie game studios looking to bring their first game to market or established indie studios looking to scale up, its consulting business toward public entities, we built a comprehensive understanding of the video game ecosystem.
As a catalyst for the video game ecosystem, we bring together all industry stakeholders to create greater understanding, knowledge, and collaboration. Our goal is to stimulate European and international activity and strengthen ecosystems. Today we are the only ones to offer a pan-European approach.
Especially we want to integrate more people into our value chain: other partners in the sector such as medium-sized publishers, private investors, and banks who believe in these projects. We are constantly looking for partners or talent/experts in the industry. Finally, our goal is to include more diversity with more local, younger and female profiles to reflect the current society.
We want to be a major player in the video game ecosystem to develop more ambitious, bigger, and more competitive projects through our programs: Accelerator program, European Games co-production Market, African Game co-production Market, and Indie Plaza, an internet portal that will bring together the best financing sources and tools for distribution and sale projects for indies.
All this would not be possible without our partners Creative Europe Media, Arte, Goethe Institut, Arctic Game, Orange.
With your European Games Accelerator, you offer personalized mentoring, workshops and webinars with international experts. In 2023, the program will expand and take more indie studios. Why did you take this step? Who can apply?
This program targets studios’ specific needs in terms of business and management and explores a different way to finance, develop and release a video game on the market. We supported 10 studios per year since 2016 and got the proof that personalized mentoring, meaning connecting experienced business mentors with indie studios helps them to develop their knowledge, business skills, and international perspectives.
Now it’s time to ramp up and offer the program to as many countries as possible in Europe. We are now known and recognized internationally, we have important support like Creative Europe Media and we are the only ones to offer this.
Our wish is to be a major player, i.e. to accompany more studios that will have more impact in the industry to attract European and even intercontinental funding.
The program is open to European studios that already have experience on the market with 1 or 2 games sold, and that want to become more professional to move to the next level, meaning developing and financing ambitious international projects and supporting their growth strategy as a company. Our goal is to accelerate up to 35 studios this year.
We invite all ambitious European studios willing to take the next level to apply to the program! Applications for the 2023 track are open until 19 February 2023. All necessary information can be found on our website: www.spielfabrique.eu. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact our Acceleration Project Manager: email@example.com
The European and African Games Co-Production Markets aim to connect European and African developers to coproduce games. Please tell us more about these programs and how successful they have been so far.
Through those two programs, our main goal is to create collaboration between studios in different countries.
In 2022, the European co-production market grew, more than 70 studios from 15 European countries were invited to join the market and more than 40 studios had a meeting. In the end, 10 co-production teams were formed. For the first time, we gathered the European teams for an on-site co-production training session in Strasbourg for 2 days in September. Keynotes, case studies, and one-to-one meetings with our experts in publishing, law, co-production and networking events have been organized. They had the chance to dive into their project as a team to be ready for the final pitching event to publishers and financiers, in November 2022. All the teams pitched their project together and we saw a lot of interest from the participating studios and publishers, financiers, and private investors. We look forward to seeing the results.
Regarding the African Games Co-production Market, 9 African studios were selected from 96 applications received from across the continent. Four days of online mentoring between the studios and our international mentors were organized to help them to refine their prototypes and try to elaborate a strategy on the following aspects: games design, business model, marketing, financing, pitching methods, UX design. The aim was for them to be ready to present their project to
European studios during one Matchmaking day online event. The end of this program happened with an online final pitching event: 6 out of 10 African studios found a co-production in Europe, which is a success for a first edition.
The overall feedback we received from our partners, experts, and publishers is that the level of games and projects has evolved since the first mentoring sessions. The participants have gained experience, knowledge and above all confidence in the two programs.
What can be gained by co-production?
When people collaborate, they benefit from each other's experience, skills, and knowledge. They go further in the development of the game on a conceptual level, but also on a technical level, and can offer a bigger, more mature game to the publishers and be more attractive. They are also more competitive for a project with strong European intellectual properties.
We want to offer an alternative way between the classic publishing possibilities and the indie video game studio that is on its own.
What needs to change to facilitate transnational funding?
We notice that there is a real change of mindset regarding this subject. New European public funds and new sources of financing are emerging and want to support this market.
We believe that one of the first things to be done is to synchronize public funds so that they go in the same direction. There is a push for more funding to be made available and for it to be directed toward the goal of improving competitiveness and enabling the retention of intellectual property by European developers. At the moment there are some very good initiatives, but they lack the coordination to be effective.
We also need to think about co-production funding. This project has attracted public institutions and made them realize that their funding system is not necessarily adapted to this system. If we want to see co-productions between different studios, we need everyone to work together.
Then, we need to educate the studios so that they understand the importance of developing internationally. The main advantage is that their promotion is broadened: a presence beyond their home country allows them to reach more potential partners but also customers
That’s why at SpielFabrique, we want to develop European IPs so that they have a bigger impact and above all keep our talent in Europe. Everything is in place to make it work, but it needs to be framed.